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Invitation to Illinois Standardbred Breeders

January 29, 2016 by Kevin Kline, PhD
The University of Illinois Horse Farm invites all Illinois Standardbred Breeders to partner with us in the resurgence of the ICF program.

While the horse racing landscape remains uncertain in the Land of Lincoln, the University of Illinois Horse Farm remains optimistic that the recent events in the industry will mark a resurgence of Illinois horse racing and breeding. The reduction and consolidation of harness racing dates into one major track, Hawthorne, along with increased purses during the spring through fall months could well be a positive development for Illinois racing and breeding, even without an immediate gaming bill. More opportunities for young ICF horses, especially trotters, are very likely – both for stake races and conditioned races that were not typically offered at the now closed Maywood and Balmoral Parks. The projected ICF stakes purses, probably very similar to those offered in 2015 in the absence of a gaming bill, still offer value to the small group of Illinois breeders that produce quality animals for our limited pool of ICF stakes-eligibles. A new gaming law could, of course, breathe new life into the ICF program and transform the breeding industry over night.

The key to being a “big fish in the small pond” of the ICF program is to breed outstanding stakes horses in a limited stakes pool of animals that can then go on to be competitive in conditioned races in Illinois and throughout North America. We invite you to breed one or more of your good mares to one of our proven producing stallions that have displayed the ability to produce “the right kind” over and over.

On the pacing side, for example, our stallion Sagebrush has posted some stunning numbers so far in his limited career. His offspring that are old enough to have raced at least through their 2 and 3 year old seasons number only 42 total foals. From that group, he has sired the likes of NJ'S Big Deal P 4, 1:50.1 M ($306,372); Sleazy Does It P 5, 1:51.3 M ($301,819); Thesleazyprincess P 3, 1:52.2 M ($280,298); Dee Dee Sage P 4, 1:52.0 M ($225,716) and Hostess Lisa P 4, 1:51.0 F ($212,266). Breeders have finally caught on to Sagebrush’s ability to sire top performers from many types of mares, and Sagebrush’s 2016 crop of 2 year olds is represented by a robust 47 foals – by far his biggest crop to date. Watch for them to make a lot of noise in the 2016 ICF stakes. Don’t overlook Duneside Perch either, as “all he has done for us lately” was to sire both of the 2015 winners of the two “glamor division” Super Night Stakes, the Orange and Blue and the Langley Memorial, in Dan D Dune P 2, 1:53.3 M ($120,626) and Dinky Dune P 3, 1:51.4 M ($85,975), respectively. His recent “out East” winners in PA and DE include Unlocked P, 4, 1:49.1F ($359,169); Duneside Chella P, 5, 1:51.4F ($94,172) and Beach Boy Brody P, 4, 1:52.1F ($77,337).

On the trotting side, no one questions that Cassis has the most modern pedigree, and is the fastest trotting stallion ever to stand stud in Illinois. This Hambletonian heat-winning and multiple stakes-winning son of Cantab Hall has a first crop of 38 living foals that will be heard from this summer. Southwind Breeze, although overshadowed by his on-farm neighbor Cassis, has shown the type of siring consistency that most trotting stallions can only dream of. Southwind Breeze has sired winners all over the United States including Little Ms Chrissy, T 4, 1:53.4 ($248,688); Big Bill Breeze T 4, 1:54.1f ($169,986); Divination T 5, 1:54.4f ($127,176); Bailey's Wish T 3, 1:55 ($223,035) and Bobby B Breeze T 4, 1:55.1f ($155,731).

University of Illinois Stallion Duneside Perch has double Super Night scores with Dinky Dune and Dan D Dune

September 13, 2015 by Tomn Kelley, Publicity Director, Balmoral Park
Dinky Dune captured the Pete Langley Memorial by a length over Earndawg in 1:51.
Dinky Dune captured the Pete Langley Memorial by a length over Earndawg in 1:51.4.
Sunday, September 13, 2015 – excerpted from “Super Night Championships produce star studded efforts” by Tom Kelley, publicity director, Balmoral Park

Fresh off a win in the Dudley Hanover Stake down in DuQuoin Dinky Dune continued his “dream season” as he rolled to a one-length victory in a career best of 1:51.4 giving driver Pat Curtin and trainer Dane May their first Super Night championships in the $112,000 Pete Langley Memorial for 3 YO colt and gelding pacers.

Working out a second-over trip while Earndawg (Todd Warren) carved out splits of 28.0, 56.1 & 1:24.0 Curtin had the son of Duneside Perch—Dream Hand in perfect striking position as the field turned for home.

“All night I had my mind set on wanting to get into the two-hole with this horse,” said a very excited Curtin. “Then right before we went out there Dane said to me Pat please just give him a trip and try to be second-over with him and that’s what happened. Dane was definitely right on with that one!”

Gradually reeling in a tiring Earndawg, Dinky Dune was well in hand to Curtin as he charged home in 27.2 to record his sixth win 14 starts this season. Earndawg turned in a game effort from the 10-hole to finish second while longshot Mighty Hot Shot (Ridge Warren) was third.

The winner returned $7.80, $4.40 & $3.20 while upping his career earnings to $84,852.

The richest event of the night was saved for last as a field of nine closed out the night in the $187,000 Orange & Blue Stake. Taking advantage of some brisk early fractions, Kay Willis’s Dan D Dune came flying through the stretch to win by a half-length in a career best of 1:53.3 for driver Mike Oosting.

Pacing along third over while Royale Rose (Matt Krueger) faced constant pressure through splits of 26.4, 56.2 & 1:25.1 Oosting moved the Nelson Willis trained son of Duneside Perch—Witch Hanover three deep as the field hit the head of the stretch.

“I was a little concerned with how far back we were but I knew those horses up front were getting roughed up pretty good,” said Oosting. “This horse has always finished up a mile well though and I knew if they faltered at all up there we were going to get there in time.”

Picking up one rival after another the Governor’s Cup winner zoomed right on by with a well measured move from Oosting for his fifth win of his career. Wondrous Sport (Casey Leonard) was a tough luck second while BS Tyrrific (Kyle Wilfong) was third.

University of Illinois-bred Ryleigh’s Lilly wins Lorna Propes Championship on Super Night at Balmoral Park

September 13, 2015 by Tom Kelley, Publicity Director, Balmoral Park
Ryleigh's Lilly Wins Lorna Propes Championship on Super Night
Sunday, September 13, 2015 – excerpted from “Super Night Championships produce star studded efforts” by Tom Kelley, publicity director, Balmoral Park

Ryleigh’s Lilly, the daughter of Western Hero and Fox Valley Chosen defeated a field of 10 older mare pacers in the $95,000 Lorna Propes Championship on Super Night, Saturday, September 12th at Balmoral Park.

As she’s done so often this season John Barnard’s Ryleigh’s Lilly overpowered her rivals in the late going as she went sailing past them in the stretch to win by two-lengths in 1:52.4 for driver Casey Leonard.

Confidently handled by her red-hot pilot the 5-year-old daughter of Western Hero was positioned in mid-pack while the lead changed hands several times through opening splits of 28.0, 55.4 & 1:24.2.

“It looked like there was going to plenty of speed to keep things honest up front and it certainly worked out that way tonight,” Leonard explained. “I didn’t want to go three-wide quite as early as I did but I wasn’t about to let those front horses get away from us.”

Zooming by her rivals in the lane, Ryleigh’s Lilly was on cruise control through the final sixteenth of a mile as she reported home with her 19th career victory. Just By Design (Dale Hiteman) shook loose late to rally for the place money while Rev Me Up (Brian Carpenter) was third. The overwhelming 2-5 favorite returned $2.80, $2.40 & $2.10 while hiking her career bankroll up to $173,968.

SUPER NITE WAS A SUPER NIGHT for the UNIVERSITY OF IL HORSE FARM STALLIONS!

December 15, 2014 by
U of I stallions sired the winners of 8 of the 12 Super Nite ICF races, including:

3 by DUNESIDE PERCH
UNLOCKED -Winner of the $146,000 Langley Memorial by 11 1/2 lengths.
SILVER DEVIL -Winner of the Maurello Cons.
DUNESIDE PERTTIE -Winner of the filly Orange & Blue Cons.

2 by SAGEBRUSH
THE SLEAZY PRINCESS -Winner $142,000 Grandma Ann
THE BIG SLEAZY -Winner of the colt Orange & Blue Cons.

2 by SOUTHWIND BREEZE
BIG BILL BREEZE - Winner of the $100,000 Sumac Lad
BAILEY'S WISH - Winner $100,000 Lady Ann Reed

1 by DROPPINTHEHAMMER
AL'S HAMMERED - Winner of the $112,000 Maurello Final, his third Super Nite win.

Plus they sired these runners-up:

DUNESIDE PERCH
DUNE IN RED - Second in the $118,000 Progress
UNCLE SI - Second in the Orange & Blue Cons.
OVERLOADED - Second in Langley Cons.

SOUTHWIND BREEZE
BOBBY B BREEZE - Second in the $100,000 Sumac Lad
LORA LEE BREEZE - Second in the $100,000 Lady Ann Reed

Thanks to all the breeders and owners for making this Super Nite happen. We're looking forward to offering you the first crop by CASSIS 3,1:52.4, the Cantab Hall son that won the fastest elim. of his Hambletonian. See them at next year's yearling sales.

Silver Devil Streaks to Upset in Friday's Cardinal Stake at Maywood

May 31, 2014 by Tom Kelley, publicity director, Maywood Park
John De Long guided the good looking Silver Devil to an upset score in Friday's
John De Long guided the good looking Silver Devil to an upset score in Friday's $34,380 Cardinal Stake at Maywood Park. (Maywood Park Photo)
Melrose Park, IL --- Taking advantage of a mid-race speed duel, driver John De Long slid 24-1 longshot Silver Devil to the outside of horses on the backstretch the final time, then rallied sharply in the lane to post a half-length upset in Friday’s (May 30) $34,380 Cardinal Stake for older state-bred pacers at Maywood Park. The final time was 1:53.3.

Using post position two to perfection, De Long positioned the handsome roan son of Duneside Perch along the pylons while Elkhorn Damien (Todd Warren) and Crankin’ It Up (Kyle Wilfong) battled through a :27.3 opening quarter. After letting the field settle into position through that opening split, driver Casey Leonard sent 4-5 favorite Fort Silky on his way from fifth as the field headed into the stretch the first time, prompting some strong urging from Warren with Elkhorn Damien. With these two quickly engaged in a speed duel the dominant Fort Silky made a very uncharacteristic break as the field moved to the half-mile mark in :56.1.

Quickly righting the ship with Fort Silky, the top two continued to battle tooth and nail as the field raced by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:24.3. By this point De Long had slipped to the outside with Silver Devil and had the 4-year-old gelding powering up three wide around the top pair as the field moved into the final turn. Sweeping around the tiring leaders as the field turned for home, the Nick Giberson trainee paced home in :28.3 for his first win of the season, holding off a big late move from another longshot, Fancy Creek Elusiv (Ryan Anderson), who made a huge four-wide surge around the last bend. Elkhorn Damien held on for third.

After an impressive 11-win campaign in his first season of action in 2013, Silver Devil, who returned $50.80, $20.40 and $7.40, now boasts career earnings of nearly $105,000 for the ownership group of Amy Giberson, Stephanie Winship, Carl Lacy and Monty Thompson.

Bailey's Wish Takes Violet Stake in Thrilling Fashion

May 26, 2014 by Tom Kelley, publicity director, Balmoral Park
Bailey's Wish (inside) held off the late charge of longshot Rollette to win Sunday's $47,600 Violet Stake for 3-year-old trotting fillies. (David Baum photo)
Crete, IL --- State-bred trotting fillies were the focus of attention on Sunday (May 25) at Balmoral Park, as a field of 10 3-year-olds went toe-to-toe in the $47,600 Violet Stake as part of a big Memorial Day weekend of festivities at the Crete oval.

Proving that she will once again be a force to be reckoned with in this division, James Bafia and Eugene White’s Bailey’s Wish reported home with a hard fought neck decision in a career best 1:57.3 for driver Dave Magee.

After leaving quickly from post five Magee elected to let the hard charging Macie Rae (Ryan Anderson) and Say No Mo (John De Long) battle it out through splits of :29, :57.2 and 1:27.1.

After carving out a perfect pocket sitting journey while those two fillies battled tooth and nail, Magee showed his Hall of Fame skills as he slipped to the outside of Macie Rae as the field straightened for the money. Gradually wearing down the pacesetter, the Dirk Simpson trained miss gamely moved to the front with a sixteenth of a mile to go and then held off a late charge from longshot Rollette (Dean Magee) for her sixth lifetime victory. Macie Rae held on for third.

After starting this season with uncharacteristic breaks in two of her first three starts, the daughter of Southwind Breeze-Jen was as smooth as could be on Sunday night as she pushed her lifetime numbers to 6-4-2 in 18 starts with earnings of just over $129,000.

Silver Devil Streaks to Victory at Maywood

November 25, 2013 by Tom Kelley, publicity director, Maywood Park (reposted with permission)
Silver Devil and Casey Leonard were all alone at the finish of Friday's $15,000 Cole Muffler stake at Maywood Park (Maywood Park photo)

Melrose Park, IL --- The late season surge of Amy Giberson, Stephanie Winship, Carl Lacy and Monty Thompson’s Silver Devil continued on Friday (Nov. 22) as the handsome roan gelding completely dismantled five other Illinois conceived and foaled 3-year-old pacing colts in a 6-1/4 length romp while taking the $15,000 Cole Muffler Stake at Maywood Park. The final time was 1:54.

Taking full advantage of a nice inside draw and the defection of his main rival, Mystical Walter, who was a judges scratch, the altered son of Duneside Perch-Armbro Wahine swept from third to first after watching Golden Nugget (Jason Brewer) and Fox Valley Norman (John Roberts) battle through an opening quarter in :27.4.

In command of the proceedings the rest of the way the Nick Giberson trained sophomore rattled off middle splits of :56.4 and 1:25.4 while putting daylight between himself and his competition.

Leaving his rivals in his wake on the final turn, Silver Devil sealed the deal with a :28.1 final quarter to post his 11th win in 26 starts this season. Monopoly Man (John De Long) rallied to be second while Colechester (Sam Widger) finished a distant third.

Unraced as a 2-year-old, the 1-5 favorite of the betting public returned $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10 while upping his record to 11-2-1 in 26 lifetime starts with earnings of $84,614.

 

Bailey's Wish Cruises in Lady Lincoln Land Final

October 4, 2013 by Tom Kelley, Balmoral Park (reposted with permission)
Bailey's Wish and driver Dave Magee rolled to a 3 1/2 length victory
Bailey's Wish and driver Dave Magee rolled to a 3 1/2 length victory in Wednesday's $105,000 Lady Lincoln Land Stake.

Continuing a nice late season surge towards divisional honors, James Bafia and Eugene White’s Bailey’s Wish completely dominated nine rivals in the year’s richest race for Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old trotting fillies, winning Wednesday's $105,000 Lady Lincoln Land Stake by 3 1/2 lengths at Balmoral Park. The final time was 1:59.4.

Given a perfect steer by driver Dave Magee, the daughter of Southwind Breeze-Jen was hustled to the front after landing in fourth through an opening quarter in 29.4.

“I knew we had to gain some early position since we were leaving from the eight hole,” explained Magee. “Once they started to slow down just a little bit on the front end I asked her to go and she moved up to the front very easily for me.”

Rolling through middle splits of 59.3 and 1:28.4, the Dirk Simpson trainee began to put daylight between herself and her struggling rivals as the field neared the top of the stretch.

On cruise control the rest of the way, Bailey’s Wish effortlessly trotted under the wire with her third win in her last four starts and her fourth win in 11 lifetime starts. Fox Valley Skylar (Dale Hiteman) rallied up the inside to finish second while Bands Pippa (Casey Leonard) was third.

“She was doing that all on her own,” said the Hall of Famer. “I don’t like to pressure her if I don’t have to. She just trotted right away from them and glided home with no urging from me whatsoever.”

The 8-5 co-favorite in the race returned $5.40, $3.20 and $3.00 while upping her career bankroll to $93,383.

Divination Upsets in Fox Valley Evita Stake

July 29, 2013 by Tom Kelley, Balmoral Park (reposted with permission)

Picking up right where he left off after posting seven wins, including four stake victories, on Saturday night’s card, driver Mike Oosting continued to dominate the Southland Festival of Racing action. guiding Derek Jacobus and Kevin Kline’s Divination to a three-quarter length score in Sunday’s $45,000 Fox Valley Evita Stake for Illinois conceived and foaled 3-year-old trotting fillies at Balmoral Park.

Confidently handled by Balmoral’s leading reinsman, the daughter of Southwind Breeze-Hocus Pocus was an unhurried fifth through the early stages as the Robert Taylor owned and trained entry of Little Ms Chrissy and Just For Fun (Casey Leonard) led the field through opening splits of :28.4 and 57.3.

Flushing out cover from a first over Trot Fudge Sundae (Dave Magee) as the field moved around the far turn, Oosting had Divination in a perfect second over striking position as Little Ms Chrissy showed the way by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.4.

“I knew it was time to go before those fillies up front got away from us,” said Oosting. “I needed to make the leaders go on because I didn’t know if my filly could out trot them from where we were. Getting cover was just an added bonus for us.”

Through the stretch a hard charging Divination took dead aim on a leg weary Little Ms Chrissy. Cruising down the center of the racetrack the five-time winner in 2013 swallowed up the pacesetter with a sixteenth of a mile to go and quickly drew clear for the victory. Little Ms Chrissy held on for second while Just For Fun was third.

“This filly is really starting to find her best stride right now,” said the red-hot Oosting. “She has always been right there with this group but she’s had a tough time getting by them. Nick (Prather) has done a great job getting her to come around at just the right time and it could be a very nice summer for her.”

With the win Divination now boasts a career record of 6-8-2 in 25 starts with earnings of $61,930.

State Bred Stakes Highlight Friday Card

July 6, 2013 by Tom Kelley, Maywood Park (reposted with permission)

The USTA’s Back To The Track weekend kicked off on Friday night and along with food, fun and some great giveaways, Maywood Park celebrated the event with a pair of state-bred stakes events featuring both the young and older stars of the Illinois Conceived and Foaled circuit.

In the night’s first event Megan Rogers' recent acquisition, Unlocked made it four in a row to open his career, taking the $12,000 Fox Valley Barzgar Stake by 2 ¼ lengths in 1:56.3 for driver Dave Magee.

Just as he did in his victory in the Enzo The Baker Stake last week, driver Magee ducked off the gate with the son of Duneside Perch-Miss Major Power, getting away sixth as 75-1 longshot Marty Rucker (Dale Hiteman) led the field through an opening quarter in 29.0.

Moving first over as the field rolled by the stands for the first time Unlocked continued to draw closer to the pace setter, moving into third on the outside as the two-year-old colts reached the half-mile mark in a leisurely 58.2.

Finding his best stride as the field moved down the backstretch for the final time, the Nick Prather trainee was about to swallow up Marty Rucker as the two moved past the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.3.

Quickly drawing away from that rival on the final turn the undefeated colt was on cruise control the rest of the way, effortlessly keeping his entrymate The Fiscal Cliff (Mike Oosting) at bay through the lane. Fox Valley Nico (Casey Leonard) wound up finishing third, 5 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

With that perfect four-for-four record Unlocked now has career earnings of $22,500. Bet as though defeat was out of the question, the bay colt returned just $2.10 and $2.10. There was no show wagering on the race.

Some of the state’s top older pacers were in action n the night’s eighth race as an overflow field of 10 gathered for the $30,000 Cook County Stake

The USTA’s Back To The Track weekend kicked off on Friday night and along with food, fun and some great giveaways, Maywood Park celebrated the event with a pair of state-bred stakes events featuring both the young and older stars of the Illinois Conceived and Foaled circuit.

In the night’s first event Megan Rogers' recent acquisition, Unlocked made it four in a row to open his career, taking the $12,000 Fox Valley Barzgar Stake by 2 ¼ lengths in 1:56.3 for driver Dave Magee.

Just as he did in his victory in the Enzo The Baker Stake last week, driver Magee ducked off the gate with the son of Duneside Perch-Miss Major Power, getting away sixth as 75-1 longshot Marty Rucker (Dale Hiteman) led the field through an opening quarter in 29.0.

Moving first over as the field rolled by the stands for the first time Unlocked continued to draw closer to the pace setter, moving into third on the outside as the two-year-old colts reached the half-mile mark in a leisurely 58.2.

Finding his best stride as the field moved down the backstretch for the final time, the Nick Prather trainee was about to swallow up Marty Rucker as the two moved past the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.3.

Quickly drawing away from that rival on the final turn the undefeated colt was on cruise control the rest of the way, effortlessly keeping his entrymate The Fiscal Cliff (Mike Oosting) at bay through the lane. Fox Valley Nico (Casey Leonard) wound up finishing third, 5 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

With that perfect four-for-four record Unlocked now has career earnings of $22,500. Bet as though defeat was out of the question, the bay colt returned just $2.10 and $2.10. There was no show wagering on the race.

Fox Valley Yukon
Fox Valley Yukon and driver Kyle Wilfong chased down the heavily favored Fort Silky to take the $30,000 Cook County Stake on Friday night at Maywood Park.

Some of the state’s top older pacers were in action in the night’s eighth race as an overflow field of 10 gathered for the $30,000 Cook County Stake. - See more at: http://www.barntowire.com/2013/MWnotes130706.html#sthash.sG2cHu7B.dpuf


 

Using the inside post on the half-mile oval to absolute perfection, driver Kyle Wilfong guided Fox Valley Yukon to a three-quarter-length triumph in 1:53.2 for the partnership of Rob Ritoff, Gail Sanders, M. De Vience and The Auglyn Corporation.

Leaving quickly from the inside starting spot Fox Valley Yukon grabbed early command then elected to let second tier starter, and 3-5 favorite Fort Silky (Casey Leonard), grab control of the proceedings as the field stormed by an opening quarter in 27.0.

Positioned perfectly in the pocket as Fort Silky led the field through middle splits of 55.4 and 1:24.1, Wilfong patiently waited for room for Fox Valley Yukon while Fort Silky was forced to fend off a first over bid from Gibbs (Robert Smolin).

Swinging to the outside as the field moved through the stretch the five-year-old son of Sportsmaster gradually wore down Fort Silky, eventually getting by the division leader in the final 100 yards with a 28.4 closing panel. Fort Silky was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while 35-1 longshot Sports Fanatic (Dean Magee) rallied to finish third.

The win was the third in 17 starts this year for Fox Valley Yukon, who now boasts career earnings of $220,842 while under the guidance of conditioner Rob Ritoff. Sent off as the second choice in the field of 10, Fox Valley Yukon returned $13.40, $4.40 and $4.00.